Two months of collective restraint from the world’s most powerful smartphone companies have led up to this day in Barcelona. If this were Hollywood, today would be the Oscars, maybe even more exciting. Today, tightly guarded secrets finally see the light of day, leaks that couldn’t wait to be revealed are confirmed, and expectations that have kept the tech industry at a standstill are either quenched or met with utter disappointment.
In a span of just two years, Korean smartphone giant Samsung has been on the receiving end of both criticism and praise. Its 2014 smartphone the Galaxy S5, with its plasticky build and faux leather stylings was a big miss while its 2015 attempt the glass and metal Galaxy S6 was for the most part, everything its demanding user base clamoured for.
Today as they unveil their latest Pièce De Résistance or as the Spanish say the Plato Fuerte, Samsung hopes for a repeat of last year’s performance.
I’ve seen and held the new Galaxy S7 and its curvier big brother the Galaxy S7 Edge – both are great phones, not blow your mind phones, but phones that deliver a certain level of contentment and satisfaction.
Call it managing expectations. For sure, a smartphone on the bleeding edge is what we tech journalists seek out. But at its core, if you strip away the pomp and hyperbole of a smartphone launch, see beyond the marketing speak, and allow enough time for the hype to die down, you’ll find that what everybody really wants is a smartphone they can be content with.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 is one of those phones.
Two key themes mark the design of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge (from hereon out collectively referred to as the S7 unless otherwise stated) – giving back what was surreptitiously taken away, and improving on what has already been done right.
Like the S5 of two years past, the S7 has an IP68 rating that guarantees survival under fresh or pool water up to depths of 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. The only orifices on the phone are a micro USB charging port and headphone jack, both remain exposed but protected thanks to a new cap-less design.
The only removable part is its SIM card tray, lined with rubber stoppers to keep water out. The hybrid tray has two slots, one for a nano SIM, and the other for a micro SD (or a second nano SIM) card of up to 200GB in case the phone’s internal storage is not enough (32GB or 64GB depending on your region). The latter should appease critics who decried the absence of the expandable memory on the S6, and gives Samsung a leg up on Apple whose never made external cards an option on the iPhone.
One feature not making a comeback is user replaceable batteries. Instead Samsung is giving the S7 and S7 Edge batteries with larger capacities. Up to 3000 mAh on the S7 and 3600 mAh on the S7 Edge. Both phones also support fast wired and wireless charging and take 95 minutes and 115 minutes (wired) and 130 and 150 minutes (wireless) respectively to charge from 0 to 100%.
If you’ve seen the S6 then the S7 won’t look dramatically different. The S7 is still mostly made up of glass and metal but now has slightly more rounded corners, a slightly more squarish home button, and a display that’s even more flushed against its sides.
The biggest design change can be seen and felt once you turn the phone around. The back of the of S7 now curves outward on both ends made from what Samsung calls 3D glass. It’s a simple but practical design change that’s made the phone less boxy, more ergonomic, and one that feels thinner than it actually is.
Samsung also improved the highly regarded camera of the S6.
While its shaved down the unsightly camera bump, everything else is bigger and better, including a faster f/1.7 lens and larger 1.4um pixel size.
The company is touting a new feature called dual pixel technology, something seen on high end professional cameras from Canon but never on a smartphone. The promise is even better low light performance and even faster focus speeds, up to 4x faster than its predecessor in low light.
Samsung is also making a bold move this year, cutting down on megapixels from 16 on the S6 to only 12 on the S7. In lieu of more megapixels you get larger pixels, a tradeoff that theoretically should deliver better looking photos across lighting conditions.
Double pressing on the home button still launches the camera app, and launch time is as fast as ever. From within the camera app Samsung has added a new Motion Panorama mode and made improvements to its Hyperlapse feature bringing down file sizes significantly so that it can be shared easily on the web.
Similar to what Apple did with the iPhone 6S, the S7’s selfie camera gets fill flash, not an actual front facing flash, but a sudden burst of light from your smartphone display.
Depending on where you are in the world the S7 will be powered by different processors, either an octa-core processor from Samsung (Exynos 8890) or a quad-core processor from Snapdragon (Snapdragon 820), both are promised to be up to 58% faster than last year’s models.
Memory-wise, 4GB of RAM is standard across the board.
Gamers will enjoy a new feature called Game Tools that allow you to take screenshots, record game play, turn off notifications while in game, and the ability switch to a power saving mode that reduces performance but saves on battery life. The phone also supports Vulcan API so game developers can tap into even more power saving and performance driving features in tandem with the phone.
Last year Samsung introduced two innovative new smartphones with curved screens, the 5.1-inch S6 Edge and 5.7 inch S7 Edge Plus. Both models have been consolidated into one product this year the 5.5-inch Galaxy S7 Edge. The change might sound confusing at first but it is a smart move that clearly defines Samsung’s top-of-the-line smartphone offerings which in 2016 are the Galaxy S7 (5.1 inches) Galaxy S7 Edge (5.5 inches) and Galaxy Note 5 (5.7 inches with a bundled stylus), none of which compete with each other in both feature set and screen size.
Edge functionality on the S7 Edge has been expanded – the edge display is now two columns wide. The extra screen real estate means more space for 3rd party widgets. On top of “People Edge” (contact shortcuts) and “Apps Edge” (app shortcuts) Samsung is adding a third edge screen called “Task Edge” which allows you to create shortcuts to specific tasks within apps. For example you create a shortcut to launch the selfie camera, or compose a new SMS message. For now its Samsung apps only but the company is opening up Task Edge to third party developers so soon you should also be able to also create shortcuts for posting photos to Instagram and composing Tweets.
It’s only been a few hours since the launch of the S7, not enough time to crown it the next best thing. In a week or so after this hype has died down, I should be able to assess how I truly feel about the device and determine whether or not it is a phone that delivers contentment. But by then the phone could already be in your hands.
In an effort to be the first flagship smartphone in stores this 2016, Samsung is pushing for an aggressive worldwide release. Both phones will be available in the United States on March 11th. The Philippine release is scheduled for March 19th, with gold and black 32GB variants of the S7 and S7 Edge retailing for Php 34990 and Php 39990 respectively.
[irp posts=”2481″ name=”Singapore is getting a taste of Samsung’s pink-gold Galaxy S7 phones”]
Amazon Kindle PaperWhite Signature Edition Review
The best Kindle for every bookworm?
It’s been a while ever since the Amazon Kindle PaperWhite had a refresh. To be particular about it, its 10th-Generation model was released last 2018 — merely three years ago!
This 2021, the new 11th-Gen Kindle PaperWhite offers better upgrades including a larger and brighter display, as well as USB-C and wireless charging support.
But are those enough to make you upgrade? Or should you wait for the next version of Kindle Oasis instead?
Head over to our unboxing and in-depth review of the Amazon Kindle PaperWhite and watch it in 4K too.
The Mi TV P1 is a great first TV
A good self reward
I still vaguely remember the first TV I ever bought. It was, if I recall correctly, a 24-inch Samsung TV. That was already a big deal for me at the time. I just landed a producer job at an online news outlet and got my first major salary bump. As someone who enjoyed watching TV shows and movies, I thought I’d treat myself by graduating from watching on a laptop.
The TV wasn’t anything crazy. It wasn’t smart either. At the time, Smart TVs weren’t as prevalent as they are today and it would have cost maybe two months worth of my salary then. But this TV I bought had what I needed. It can read from flash drives and external hard drives, and it has an HDMI port. That thing cost me somewhere between PhP 15,000 to PhP 18,000.
Fast forward to today, I would have been able to afford a pretty big screen 4K TV now with that money. Specifically, the Xiaomi Mi TV P1. Here are the price ranges for its various sizes:
- 55″ — PhP 24,990
- 50″ — PhP 22,990
- 43″ — PhP 18,990
The same TV line also has a 32-inch variant at PhP 10,990 but it isn’t 4K so I excluded it from the list. By these standards, I would have been able to afford the 43-incher. Or perhaps, I would have opted to save up a little more to grab either of the 50-inch or 55-inch variants.
But even the 43-incher is already worlds better than what I had bought back then. I’m sure it’s a fantastic option for most people today. We already have an extensive review of the Mi TV P1. But indulge me in this little piece to share why I think it’s a great first TV.
Elevate your entertainment
One of my primary considerations for buying a TV was to give my laptop (and perhaps it’s a smartphone now for most people today) a break. I think it goes a long way to prolonging your laptop’s lifespan if after a long day of work, you’re not pushing it further to watch a few episodes of your favorite series.
At the time I was religiously following TV series like Suits, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Arrow, and many, many more. It was my way to unwind and destress at night. The kind of shows or content we watch has shifted a little to more K-Dramas and plenty of YouTube creators. But whatever you choose to watch to unwind, it’s almost always better on a TV.
The UHD screen on the Mi TV P1 is no joke. It even looks good even in brightly lit rooms. You can also tweak the settings to get the kind of picture that your eyes find pleasing. My personal settings lean towards a vivid picture quality but not too much that it compromises the cinematic integrity of what I’m watching.
It’s just an overall treat to your eyes. And watching shows and movies just feels more natural this way.
Encourages legitimate streaming
Let’s face it, we didn’t always access our favorite shows from legitimate sources. Owning a Smart TV discourages that old behavior. The ease of access to streaming sites like Netflix, HBO Go, and Viu is near frictionless. And there are a variety of subscription plans that fit your needs.
You can even be creative with your streaming budget. You can rotate among these apps every month or so. You’ll just have to plan which shows you want to watch, and line them up to when you want to watch. What I do is I have Netflix on retainer so I always have it, then month-to-month I switch between HBO Go and Viu. It just depends on where the shows I want to watch are.
It’s so much easier to fire up the TV, hit a streaming app, and watch away vs having to acquire shows in less than ideal means.
What’s more, you can install ExpressVPN directly on the TV. With it you can change regions and gain access to content and apps you otherwise would not have access to. If you’re worried about the subscription fee, there’s a nice offer here.
Home entertainment centerpiece
Looking back, I really wish the Mi TV P1 was already available when I made my first TV purchase. I’m constantly fascinated by how much of what was then considered high-end tech is now available to more people.
What Xiaomi has here is pretty much more of the same of what they usually offer — a product with a fantastic price-to-performance ratio. The Mi TV P1 is no premium TV, but I’d argue it’s the best value for money you can get.
If you’re looking to splurge a little on a big ticket item, the Mi TV P1 is an easy recommendation. If I were back in my situation as a young professional looking to reward myself, this is certainly it.
5 ways to enjoy Huawei’s MatePad gift bundles
There’s plenty to do!
Tablets are always a convenient tool for users to enjoy, whether they’re looking for entertainment or simply unwinding.
As the holiday season is fast-approaching, Huawei is offering customers gift bundles for its MatePad tablet series for them to score exciting promos while saving on huge freebies.
Whether it’s a gift for yourself, an early Christmas gift, or an investment for the next year, the Huawei gift bundles campaign includes everything from budget tablets to premium ones to help grant those wishes.
Five ways to enjoy
With more than 141,000 apps available on AppGallery, users can unlock new ways to be entertained and inspired at their fingertips especially nowadays with safety guidelines outside still in place.
As the year winds down, here are five ways to begin a new journey in 2022 with the HUAWEI MatePad series:
1. Reconnect with your loved ones online
Stay connected to your friends and family over the holidays with a variety of essential social media platforms ready for download on AppGallery and Petal Search.
That includes WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, Tiktok, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit and Twitter!
2. Catch a movie marathon
Whether it means staying up to date with local dramas on MeWatch or catching the latest blockbusters on HBO Go, keep your serotonin flowing with the immersive displays and sound systems tuned by Harmon Kardon on the Huawei MatePad tablets.
Apps that you could consider include HUAWEI Video, Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, and Twitch so you don’t miss out on safe and sound Christmas bonding sessions at home.
3. Maximize productivity
With apps like Zoom, Slack and Microsoft Office, Teams, and Outlook at your disposal, staying productive amidst the Christmas rush is a breeze.
You can also keep an eye on your kid’s tablet use with a smart monitoring solution like Plano or amp your multi-tasking game with Huawei’s multi-window and multi-screen collaboration feature on the tablets.
4. Explore your creative side
With infinite possibilities on a digital canvas, you don’t have to worry about paper wastage or harming the environment.
Whether you’re a pro or just starting to find your inner artist, the Huawei M-Pencil gives a realistic drawing experience equipped with pixel-level precision.
Take a stroke of faith with Nebo, ibisPaint X, Concepts available from AppGallery.
5. Find your flow with journaling
The world can get a little noisy at times. Take a moment to disconnect and develop a calmer mind through journaling with suggested apps like Journey, Grid Diary, and Calm.
Gift bundles to choose from
Huawei has four packages available depending on what plans you have for a tablet. All deals include a free gift bundle worth as much as SG$ 396.
|MatePad model||Retail price||Free gift bundle||Best for|
|HUAWEI MatePad||SGSG$ 448
(U.P. SGSG$ 498)
Get it for only SG$ 398 during the Lazada Huawei Brand Sale from October 26 to 28
|Smart Magnetic Keyboard worth SG$ 148||Families looking for a
for work and for fun.
Includes a Kirin 820
chipset, Wi-Fi 6 and
|HUAWEI MatePad 11||SG$ 698||Worth SG$ 346:
||Young adults and
students looking for a
Includes a 120 Hz
refresh rate for a
experience and a DCI –
P3 colour gamut
|HUAWEI MatePad Pro 10.8”||SG$ 998||Worth SG$ 254:
productivity machine at
home, school, or the
Includes 10.8 inch 2K
Display with a 4.9mm
ultra slim bezel body.
Up to 11 hours of
|HUAWEI MatePad Pro 12.6”||SG$ 1,398||Worth SG$ 396:
Features a powerful
capacity and a large
12.6 inch OLED
Pricing and availability
The promotion will run from October 26 to November 30, 2021 and will be available at all Huawei Authorized Stores, selected consumer electronic stores including Best Denki, Challenger & Hachi.tech, COURTS, Gain City, Harvey Norman, Sprint-Cass, and Huawei official online stores in Lazada and Shopee.
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